Category Archives: Jobs

SPARK Recipients Working To Complete Spending

The north wing of the Bourbon County Courthouse houses the county clerk, treasurer and commission offices.

The SPARK recipients are working to complete COVID-19 related projects by the end of 2020, as required by the grant program.

SPARK is responsible for the statewide distribution of the U.S. Coronavirus Relief Fund.

The total amount of grants disbursed in Bourbon County to over 100 entities was $2,835,212.86 on October 21, 2020, according to Bourbon County Economic Director Jody Hoener.

To see the list of recipients:

The Strengthening People and Revitalizing Kansas (SPARK) taskforce is leading the state through recovery from the far-reaching effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic, according to its’ website.


“Congress recently passed the new COVID bill that gave an extension to states and cities on spending this money for a year,” said Jody Hoener, the Bourbon County Economic Development Director. “The State of Kansas Recovery Office indicated there will be an extension on our spending plans, but unknown at this time how much of an extension we will receive.”


Jody Hoenor, Bourbon County Economic Development Director. Submitted photo.


Locally, SPARK recipients have been balancing and reconciling expenses.


“At the county level we gathered the department heads who have been awarded funds for programs,” Hoener said. ” We went through every single dollar amount from the department and made sure it matched exactly what the County Clerks Office cut for a check and what Greenbush have in their reports.  Any errors are caught and quickly corrected.  From there, we subtract the total amount spent from the total amount allocated and have a final amount left to spend.”


The other recipients are also required to submit receipts and invoices of SPARK money, she said.


“For the community’s grant/award expenses( they) need to submit receipts and invoices to show dollars spent,” she said. “Greenbush is going through every single receipt and invoice with a fine-tooth comb.  It is very time-consuming as you can imagine.  From this, we have a very clear understanding of the amount spent and how much is left to be spent.”


The Southeast Kansas Educational Service Center (also known as Greenbush) was hired by the county commission to administer the SPARK distribution and oversight.


“Greenbush was contracted to administer the county SPARK funds,” Hoener said.



Ribbon Cutting For Bourbon Co. Workforce and Entrepreneur Center Dec. 10

Join us for a
Chamber Coffee & Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
Thursday, December 10th, 8am
As we celebrate the opening of
Bourbon County Workforce & Entrepreneur Resource Center
Attention Chamber Members!
Join us this Thursday, December 10th
to celebrate the opening of B-WERC with a
Chamber Coffee & Ribbon Cutting!
17 S. Main St.
upstairs of the Kress Building
Due to the COVID pandemic, temperature readings
will be taken upon entry to the Chamber Coffee
and attendees will be required to wear masks throughout the event. If anyone feels uncomfortable with these requirements, the host asks that
you reconsider attending.
Click here for the Bourbon County Eco. Devo. Facebook page.
Click here for the Kansas Small Business Development Center Facebook page.
Click here for the Southeast KANSASWORKS Facebook page.
B-WERC is a multi-partner collaboration of Bourbon County, Kansas Small Business Development Center, Southeast KANSASWORKS, Fort Scott Community College, Healthy Bourbon County Action Team, Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce and BAJA Investments. The center focuses on growing and sustaining businesses, connecting jobs and serving people. Current and aspiring entrepreneurs, employers, and job seekers can make an appointment for services including marketing support, financial review and projections, obtaining capital, establishing an online presence, legalizing childcare providers, unemployment and job seeking assistance.

Kansas Gas Service Hosts Inclusion and Diversity Virtual Job Fair


OVERLAND PARK, KS – Dec. 1, 2020 – Kansas Gas Service and its parent company ONE Gas are hosting a virtual Inclusion and Diversity career fair to help applicants understand the company and its culture and speak to recruiters about open positions.

From 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. on December 2, the public will have an opportunity to learn about ONE Gas and its divisions: Kansas Gas Service, Oklahoma Natural Gas and Texas Gas Service.

“We know this has been a trying year for many, and we are pleased to offer this career fair to meet interested applicants,” said Seth Smiley-Humphries, Inclusion and Diversity Director, ONE Gas. “We are committed to hiring a diverse workforce and advancing our inclusive culture. Applicant resumes will be used to fill open positions.”

Interested candidates can visit to complete the following steps:

  • Register for the December 2 event and submit a resume.
  • The scheduling page will provide a list of available one-hour information sessions on the company and an Inclusion and Diversity presentation. Click on a department of interest, then choose a 15-minute session to speak with a recruiter. The Teams links will be available on the website 15 minutes prior to the actual session.
  • You can also see a list of current job openings at
  • Candidates will need a device with internet access, a front-facing camera and a microphone for these one-on-one department sessions.

“We want to encourage those seeking jobs to join our virtual career fair,” says Smiley-Humphries. “We are working to find innovative and creative ways to reach potential employees. We know there are great candidates out there and we want to meet them.”

You can also watch our video for more information on the Virtual Job Fair.

For more information on careers at ONE Gas and its distribution companies, visit and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.


About Kansas Gas Service

Kansas Gas Service delivers safe, clean and reliable natural gas to more than 639,000 customers in 360 communities in Kansas. We are the largest natural gas distributor in the state, in terms of customers.

We are a division of ONE Gas, Inc. (NYSE: OGS), a stand-alone, 100 percent regulated, publicly traded natural gas utility that trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “OGS.” ONE Gas is included in the S&P MidCap 400 Index, and is one of the largest natural gas utilities in the United States.

BoCo Inter-Agency Coalition Meets Dec. 2

Billie Jo Drake, left, leads the Bourbon County Coalition, in a prior meeting.

The regularly scheduled Bourbon County Inter-Agency Coalition membership meeting will be this Wednesday, December 2, at noon, in the Community Room at the High Rise Apartments, 315 Scott Avenue.

The agenda is as follows:

Bourbon County Inter-Agency Coalition

General Membership Meeting Agenda

December 2, 2020

  1. Welcome:
  1. Member Introductions and Announcements:
  1. Program (no programs until January, 2021, at the earliest):
  1. Open Forum:
  1. Adjournment: Next General Membership meeting will be January 6, 2021.

“Be sure to wear your mask and social distance as much as possible,” Billie Jo Drake, facilitator of the group said. “Due to the rise in Covid cases in Bourbon County, I certainly understand if you do not wish to attend a face-to-face meeting. If you have any announcements that you need to share, be sure to send them to me prior to 9:00 a.m. on meeting day.”


New Employment Help Center Opens in Old Kress Building, Grocery Store Will Open Soon

A1 Towing and Moving, Fort Scott, moves shelving into the new grocery store, which will be located in the Old Kress Building, 17 S. Main.

A resource center in the former Kress Building, 17 S. Main is open in downtown Fort Scott.

The center is called the BWERC which stands for Bourbon County Workforce and Entrepreneur Resource Center.

The first floor is currently being prepared to sell groceries, while the second floor is open for business as a multi-partner center to help with COVID-19 related issues.


Downtown Grocery Store

BAJA Investments LLC, Healthy Bourbon County Action Team and a  local farm and ranch food cooperative grocery store will be located on the first floor, according to info from Hoener.

BAJA Investments will manage the grocery store that will open sometime in the second half of December 2020, said Bill Michaud, developer for the business. The store is as yet not named, Michaud said on Nov. 3.

The first-floor space will have shelving, coolers and freezers for
local produce and meat.

This will increase access to healthy food,  and make more food available for local food assistance programs, Hoener said.


To view a recent story on the grocery store, click below:

New Grocery Store In Downtown Fort Scott Is Coming


Employment Related Services

Through a multi-partner collaboration of Bourbon County government , Pittsburg State University Small Business Development Center, Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce, Fort Scott Community College , Kansas Works http://sekworks.organd BAJA Investments LLC , the hope is to address the urgent COVID-19 related crisis needs in Bourbon County, according to information provided by Jody Hoener, economic director for the county.

The large room of the B WERKS Center on the second floor of the Old Kress Building in downtown Fort Scott.


The building will be used for distance learning and teleworking and also a place for childcare businesses to become legal and thus help in childcare relief during the pandemic, Hoener noted.

A work room in the BWERC Center in the old Kress Building in downtown Fort Scott.

The plan is to give businesses the tools and technical assistance needed for increased  online capabilities and the assistance to
obtain the money needed to sustain their business.

There is also unemployment and job-seeking assistance.

Amy Kauffman, career advisor with KansasWorks sits at a desk in the Kress Building on Nov. 3. KansasWorks helps with job search assistance and employment related services.




SEKCAP Searching For Home Based Family Educator

Click HERE to review the job responsibilities and job requirements.
See flyer below for more information.
Applications at Girard office, online: or by calling the central office located in Girard KS
620-724- 8204 – ext. 1019

New Grant Will Help Local Businesses With Internet Presence: Application Deadline Oct. 31

Kress Building, 17 S. Main, August 2020.

A local business resource center was brought to fruition because of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

“The idea of a business resource center being needed became abundantly clear around March or April,” Jody Hoener, Bourbon County Economic Director said.  “Businesses were scrambling, trying to maintain or adapt as required, trying to keep their heads above water, all while attempting to navigate the very complex financial relief offered by the (U.S.)Small Business Administration and others.  Just raising awareness of the opportunities and making critical connections to financial institutions for relief became a full-time job, let alone helping owners fill out applications.”

Jody Hoener, Bourbon County Economic Development Director. Submitted photo.

B-WERC Formed

The local program, called the Bourbon County Workforce and Entrepreneur Resource Center (B-WERC),  was funded through Kansas’ Strengthening People and Revitalizing Kansas program, which was from money dispursed through the U.S. Cares Act Relief, all of these COVID-19 related measures by the layers of government.

Its purpose is to address current and immediate COVID-19 Pandemic related needs to assist business, encourage economic activity, and address unemployment, according to Hoener.

“I realized that the solution of throwing money at the problem was a very short term fix,” Hoener said. ” Businesses need customers for long term sustainability. The value in an increased online presence was highlighted more than ever during this pandemic. Restaurants were developing online solutions for curbside or delivery services as they were forced to close down. Other retailers were developing online solutions to get their products in the hands of customers. Distance learning, telework, or telehealth became a forced reality.”


“Other partnerships and resources are available through the Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce and the Fort Scott Community College,” she said. “The chamber will assist the county in coordinating and promoting. Fort Scott Community College will be offering community classes in B-WERC on social media and other skills. Classes will be hands-on with available laptops for each participant. Telework and distance learning stations will be available for community members who need access to high-speed internet.”

Fort Scott Community College.


“We will provide 20 qualified businesses free website building with expert assistance in value propositions and messaging critical to branding,” Hoener said.


A partnership with the Small Business Development Center at Pittsburg State University will assist businesses to obtain needed capital and provide business planning assistance for sustainability, Hoener said.

See the source image
Pittsburg State University.


“These incredibly valuable services, in addition to marketing or industry reports, will be readily available,” she said.  “This unique assistance will give businesses the needed help to build sustainable models.”


“Many times communities who experience high unemployment rate will in turn see high entrepreneurship rates,” Hoener said. “For those  (who are) unemployed and have great ideas to start their own business, this will give them the tools and know-how to move forward successfully.”


“A job seeking service will also be available onsite through another partner, KansasWorks, two times a week,” she said.

Childcare, An Important Component

“Childcare centers and daycares have high standards to maintain licensures.  One requirement is to meet continuing education requirements. Although continued education for staff is clearly a need, it can create a burden on the facilities in scheduling, costs, and human resources.  It is estimated there are approximately 15 illegal daycare providers in our county.  Through our partner KansasWorks, B-WERC will be implementing a program that will offer to work with the childcare centers and daycares to meet credentialing requirements of continuing education hours.  A program will be implemented to incentivize illegal care to become legal.  Childcare is critical to keep our workforce working.” Hoener said.

The B-WERC office will be located on the second floor of the old Kress building at 17 S. Main in downtown Fort Scott. The office is expected to be open Nov. 2, according to Hoener.

The street-level floor of the building will house a grocery store.

The store owner, BAJA Investments, LLC, was also a recipient of the SPARK grant program. To see the story on that, click below:

New Grocery Store In Downtown Fort Scott Is Coming

Bourbon County Website Building and Marketing Grants Program Parameters

The grants will be scored and consequently awarded on a first come first serve basis to those that are eligible, according to Hoener. Applications will remain open until October 31, 2020. The grant will be awarded until 20 qualified businesses have been awarded.

Who Is Eligible

  • For businesses located within Bourbon County, priority will be given to those businesses with a physical location.
  • The business must currently have minimal (basic) to no online or website presence.
  • Grants are for businesses who have experienced business disruptions as a result of the COVID 19 pandemic and will benefit from an increased online presence through any or all of the following:
    • Increased foot traffic
    • Encouraging tourism activities
    • Enhance or enable online scheduling (i.e. curbside, delivery, hair appointments)
    • Enhance or enable online sales
    • Raise awareness of critical structures in the community (i.e. Food Access, Child Care, etc.)
  • The applicant must be willing to spend a minimum of 5-10 hours over the next several months working with The Bureau of Small Projects staff.
  • Non-profits are not eligible under this program
  • The County reserves the right to request additional documentation

How to Apply

Applications are online at

Contact info:

Jody Hoener, Economic Development Director


210 South National

Fort Scott, KS 66701

Once an application is submitted, Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce President, Lindsay Madison, and Bourbon County Economic Development Director will review, Hoener said. The application will be scored to determine if the application meets minimum standards to qualify. A follow-up email will be sent to the applicant’s business.

Lindsay Madison, Fort Scott Chamber of Commerce Executive Director. Submitted photo.

An application will only be considered once it is fully completed with all requested documentation required to support the requested funding.


  • Grants applications will be open until October 31st.
  • Grants are awarded on a first come first serve basis to those who are eligible.
  • Grant Scoring Algorithm:

Grant Purpose: Website Building and Marketing Services for Business Impacted by the COVID 19 Pandemic


Current Online Presence


Facebook Only


No Facebook or Website


A basic, static, webpage only


A dynamic web page currently exists


How Would an Online Presence Benefit the Applicant? (Check all that apply)


Increased foot traffic


Encourage tourism activities


Enhance or enable online scheduling


Enhance or enable online sales


Raise awareness of a public need such as food or childcare


Business Activities and Impact (Check all the Apply)


The business is a childcare center or daycare


Business sales a product that can be legally sold online


The business provides a service that scheduling can be done online


The business is located in Downtown Historic District


The Business encourages overnight stays


***Minimum score of 5 from each of the three categories is required to be determined eligible  


  • A complete application must be submitted online.
  • Additional Information may be requested for clarification.
  • Economic Development Director and Chamber President will score the application and make the final determination of eligibility.
  • Economic Development Director will send congratulatory and introductory emails to The Bureau of Small Projects and the business contact.

KDA Releases Custom Rates Survey



MANHATTAN, Kansas — The Kansas Department of Agriculture in cooperation with the Kansas State University Land Use Survey Program has published the 2020 Custom Rates Survey, a summary of rates paid for custom work. The survey and report are released on a biennial basis.


The report details the average rates paid by Kansas farmers and ranchers for custom work performed on their operation in 2020. Rates reflect fair market value for custom services either rendered or hired and can be used by Kansas farmers and ranchers as they make decisions about rate charges.


“We view the Kansas Custom Rates Survey as a very valuable tool for farmers, ranchers and agribusinesses to access as they enter into new and negotiate existing contracts and agriculture service arrangements,” said Secretary Mike Beam. “KDA works to provide support and assistance to help make Kansas agriculture more successful, and we are pleased to partner with K-State to publish this biennial survey.”


Last published in 2018, the new report indicates average custom rates have increased; it also includes historical tables and graphs which show results from previous surveys. Prices in the report should not be regarded as official or established rates.


For more complete information and access to the report, please visit the KDA website at or contact KDA economist Peter Oppelt at 785-564-6726 or


KS Virtual Job Fair July 28-30

Governor Laura Kelly Announces Department of Commerce’s Third KANSASWORKS Statewide Virtual Job Fair


TOPEKA – Governor Laura Kelly today announced that the third KANSASWORKS Statewide Virtual Job Fair will be held today, Tuesday, July 28, through Thursday, July 30.


“We need to maintain a strong, healthy workforce in our state, and getting Kansans back to work safely is one of my top priorities,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “The KANSASWORKS virtual job fair has proven to be a creative and effective way to connect Kansans with jobs opportunities, and will be important as our economy recovers from the challenges of COVID-19.”


The virtual fair will allow job seekers to easily live chat with employers from across the state through computers and mobile devices. This is the third KANSASWORKS virtual job fair so far in 2020, with four more planned later this year.


Click here to register.


The Department of Commerce moved its statewide job fairs online this year to eliminate the public health risks associated with mass gatherings, while continuing to provide job opportunities for job seekers and maintain a ready workforce for Kansas businesses.


“Increasing employment opportunities and keeping our economy strong is a top priority of the Department of Commerce,” Secretary of Commerce David Toland said. “The need for both businesses and job seekers in our state is significant, but health and safety concerns mean it’s still not safe to hold in-person job fairs. The Virtual Statewide Job Fair system is a perfect example of how our KANSASWORKS team is continuing to provide Kansans access to employers in a way that protects everyone involved.”


This year’s second virtual fair in June was a great success, with approximately 165 employers and 1,497 jobseekers participating. Employers represented included:


  • KanEquip, Inc.
  • Foley Equipment
  • Fuller Industries
  • Johns Manville
  • National Beef
  • PKM Steel Service Inc.
  • Salina Regional Health Center
  • Cornejo
  • Russell Stover
  • Reser’s Fine Foods
  • Johnsonville
  • Dillons
  • Glassman Corporation
  • CivicPlus
  • ADT
  • Bombardier Aviation
  • Creekstone Farms
  • Southwest Medical Center
  • Farmers Insurance
  • Goodwill Industries of Kansas
  • Emprise Bank
  • Wichita Public Schools
  • The University of Kansas


As concerns for the health and safety of Kansans remain high due to COVID-19, the Department of Commerce will maintain the virtual job fair system for the remainder of 2020. Future statewide events are scheduled for:  


  • August 25-27
  • September 22-24
  • October 27-29
  • December 8-9


As these dates get closer, updates will be provided with employer and jobseeker registration links for each individual virtual fair.


Kansas Unemployment Services “Resets”

Governor Laura Kelly Shares Update from Kansas Department of Labor

Call center representatives added, virtual assistant launched


TOPEKA—The Kansas Department of Labor (KDOL) has been working with a team of specialists from Accenture for just over two weeks as they provide operational and technological assessments to improve the delivery of unemployment services.


“We know there have been major issues and missteps, we’ve hit the reset button and are focusing on the future,” Governor Kelly said. “Accenture is reviewing and providing recommendations to improve the stability of our systems to make sure they are readily available to support Kansans.”


While the assessment is still underway, improvements are already being implemented. Since the pandemic began, KDOL has delivered $1.2 billion in unemployment claims to nearly 200,000 Kansans.


One of the primary difficulties the agency has had is the high volume of calls coming in that require highly-trained customer service representatives to address. At the direction of Governor Kelly, KDOL has worked with Accenture to add call center representatives who are trained in unemployment surge response and will be able to provide progressively higher levels of service to callers. The first group of new representatives started taking calls on Monday and more will start next week after completing training.


In addition to hiring more call center representatives, KDOL has hired seven additional IT employees to speed up implementation of the various federal unemployment programs. Those hires include professionals with specific experience in the programming language that KDOL’s outdated system was built in.


KDOL has also launched a new online virtual agent named Amelia who can answer the agency’s most frequently asked questions regarding unemployment benefits. Amelia can be found in the bottom right hand corner of and as of Monday afternoon has had nearly 7,000 conversations, exchanging more than 23,000 messages with users.


Accenture has previously worked with more than half a dozen other states in addressing COVID-related programs. Like Kansas, many states have struggled due to the sheer number of unemployment claims and their antiquated computer systems. Accenture has stated that the system in Kansas is one of the most severe cases of outdated technology they have encountered.


As it develops its recommendations, the Accenture team is applying lessons learned from their work in other states, including how to use federal stimulus funds to rebuild antiquated systems and adding automated features to the website to help answer questions and get Kansans paid quicker.


“The response model being implemented will be able to be scaled up as needed and there will be more trained agents and technology workarounds for the current computer system,” KDOL Acting Secretary Ryan Wright said. “Our top priority is to get Kansans paid as quickly as possible and with good customer service.”


Currently, nearly everything in the KDOL system must be done manually with minimal automation, which means processes take longer and fewer Kansans can be served. The data and metrics are not stored in a central location, which makes it cumbersome to verify and difficult to provide consistent system reporting. 


“Once the surge response is stabilized, we’ll be able to turn attention to the badly needed system rebuild, so we never face this situation again,” Wright said.

Governor Kelly Praises KANSASWORKS Virtual Job Fair



TOPEKA – Governor Laura Kelly today applauded the success of the recent KANSASWORKS Statewide Virtual Job Fair, which involved some 165 employers and 1,497 jobseekers.


After the online event from Tuesday, June 23, to Thursday, June 25, participating employers reported strong response from people looking for work statewide.


“The economic impact of COVID-19 has led to an enormous need for workforce services in our state, but health and safety concerns mean in-person job fairs can’t happen,” said Governor Laura Kelly. “The virtual job fair was an innovative model to keep Kansans healthy and to keep Kansas open for business.”


The success of the virtual job fair demonstrated Kansans’ ability to adapt to challenges in providing a virtual tool to connect jobseekers with a variety of employment opportunities across the state. Employers represented in the June 23 virtual job fair included:


  • KanEquip Inc.
  • Foley Equipment
  • Fuller Industries
  • Johns Manville
  • National Beef
  • PKM Steel Service Inc.
  • Salina Regional Health Center
  • Cornejo
  • Russell Stover
  • Reser’s Fine Foods
  • Johnsonville
  • Dillons
  • Glassman Corporation
  • CivicPlus
  • ADT
  • Bombardier Aviation
  • Creekstone Farms
  • Southwest Medical Center
  • Farmers Insurance
  • Goodwill Industries of Kansas
  • Emprise Bank
  • Wichita Public Schools
  • The University of Kansas


“In these challenging times, we have to be flexible,” Secretary of Commerce David Toland said. “I’m proud of our KANSASWORKS team for its creativity in making sure that Kansans continue to have access to employers in a way that keeps everyone safe.”


As concerns for the health and safety of Kansans remain high due to COVID-19, the Department of Commerce will maintain the virtual job fair system for the remainder of 2020. Statewide events will be held on the following dates:


  • July 28-30
  • August 25-27
  • September 22-24
  • October 27-29
  • December 8-9


As these dates get closer, updates will be provided with employer and jobseeker registration links for each individual virtual fair.


Bourbon County Has Funding For Helping Businesses Recover

The Bourbon County Economic Director announces that Bourbon County was awarded $132,000 Community Development Block Grant-CV Grant for county businesses.

“We will announce open applications as soon as we can, we know you are eager to obtain relief,” Jody Hoener said. “The granting process will be based on a scoring algorithm that will be widely available.”

“The grant’s purpose is for job retention,” she said. ” In addition to year-round employment, our priorities in granting will also include closure/impact to operations, other relief awarded, and food system supply chain impact.”

To view the news release from the Department of Commerce  click here:

“If you have any questions at all do not hesitate to reach out,” she said.

She can be reached at
1-620-215-5725 Mobile